7th August 1916
A convoluted journey for Arthur returning to his Company at Fonquevillers; delays in arranging transport mean he has had a leisurely time getting back – with an opportunity for Confession with the Padre and a pleasant meeting with an old school friend: “a gunner – Basil Jackson – he had a couple of “archies”. They were up near us at S- on the 1st.”
Arthur to Dollie
I was interrupted last night, dear, & it grew dark quickly. It wasn’t easy to write then for we were in bivouac. I turned in early & slept awfully well. We’d just unrolled our valises under a waterproof sheet. There wasn’t much room but it was quite comfortable.
I sent a note up last night & Garrard & I are going up about half-past four. Johnny Sutcliffe is coming back from the Divisional School. Apparently Bobbie Page has not been a success with Sammy as Adjutant to the Battalion – for Sutcliffe is coming back to do it. Pending his arrival Minshull has been acting as Adjutant.
This morning dear I sent a note over to the Padre who is at S-. He came over. I walked with him to St A[mand], where he heard my confession, & thence on to his billet where I had lunch with him. I was glad to get to Conf. I hav’n’t been able to go since before the “strafe”. After lunch I came back here.
I’ve still to tell you of my journey from the school, haven’t I, dear. We left on Saturday afternoon at 2.50 & went by train to Abbeville – why I don’t quite know for next morning the train we took to Divisional railhead passed A- (where the school was) stopping there on route. [Auxi-Le-Chateau]
Anyway, darling, we reached A-r-e at half-past four. It took some little time to find out from the RTO our future movements &c. So that we didn’t get tea until about 6. After that I sat outside a café in the corner of the square. It was rather pleasant. We met there some folk from the – Division whom we relieved here in May. They were in the taking of Pozieres.
At 7 we wandered about a bit. I went into the church. It has a very fine main door. I don’t think though that the interior quite comes up to the outside for beauty. We went in to dinner at 8. I met an old school friend, a gunner – Basil Jackson – he had a couple of “archies”. They were up near us at S- on the 1st.[Basil Rawdon Jackson at Downside 1905-1910. Lt in Royal Garrison Artillery]
I went to bed early, darling for next morning we were up soon after 3, & caught the train at 4.40. We didn’t arrive until twenty to 12 (noon). Luckily we were able to get a cup of tea and some biscuits & chocolate from the canteen before we started. When we arrived at railhead we found no transport. I managed to get through to Brigade on the ‘phone & a limber turned up at 3. We piled our kit up on it & clambered on top & so back here. This morning it was a bit cloudy & cool, but now its simply blazing again…